Intense Training for Breathing Problems

Research has shown high-intensity training is an effective way to treat patients with breathing problems. However, this intense training is often too difficult for the patient to do for long periods of time. Now, new research shows high-intensity training in short intervals is also effective and much easier for the patient.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. COPD is a lung disease characterized by difficultly breathing. Often the respiratory muscle strength and endurance is reduced in these patients. Increasing this strength and endurance can help the patient’s breathing. Researchers from the University of Western Australia in Perth conducted a study to see if short, high-intensity training sessions could help COPD patients.

The study included nine individuals with COPD. The participants completed eight weeks of respiratory muscle training combined with a general exercise program. The training included 20-minute sessions, three times a week, where the participant did intense bouts of breathing into a machine. The respiratory strength and endurance were measured during the training period.

The study found that in week one of training, the participants breathing pressures were 68 percent of the maximum. By the eighth week of training, the breathing pressures had increased to 95 percent of the maximum. The study also reports the respiratory endurance of the participants improved.

Researchers say this study shows high-intensity, interval-based training is feasible and effective for patients with COPD. The patients in the study showed significant improvements in respiratory muscle strength and endurance when the training was done just three times a week for eight weeks.

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